Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tire Test

Over the past couple seasons I have been running less and less air in my off road bike tires.  Back in my racing days (1994-96) I would use narrower tires 1.75" wide and 45 psi or more of air pressure.   For a long time I needlessly punished myself with a harsh ride and less than optimum traction all for the sake of less rolling resistance.  These days I look to optimize comfort and I have realized that less pressure lets the tires grip the trail much better and a softer ride results.  I believe this line of thinking pays off on long 3 hours trail rides.  Rolling resistance is an important factor for road bikes but not such a big deal on the trail.

Last season I ran Hutchison Airlight Pythons 2.00" wide folding beads.  The Pythons are a great tire but the knobs were starting to round off and tiny dry rot cracks were setting in on the sidewalls.  From one of the big mail orders I found a pair of Michelin Dry2  2.3" inch folders for $9.99 a tire.  They are fat!
I mounted them up and took the bike out for a test ride.  The air pressure was 30 psi.  I don't have any trails near the house but nearby is an upground reservoir which has a few bare patches that simulate a "trail".  The ride is very plush and I am liking these tires already.  They feel heavier but I cannot really comment until I can ride on some real dirt. 

No fancy tubeless rims or anything just good old 26" MTB wheels with presta innertubes.  My weight is 160 pounds so I don't suffer from pinch flats like the bigger guys.  I am also reluctant to make the move to 29er wheels.  I am 5'8" tall and a frame my size with 29" wheels would have to be pretty compact.  I know there are small rigs out there but I still worry about my toes hitting the front tire.  And besides the Yeti is still a sweet single speed conversion even with its old timey "V" brakes.
Happy Trails

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